Monday, April 30, 2012

Positive Role Models

When I was growing up, there were no positive role models for us. We were the butt of jokes, the psycho killers in movies, but times are changing.

We now have doctors, lawyer, engineers, professors and even social workers who are trans. We have high level government officials that are trans. We have movie and television personalities that are trans, we are everywhere!
Victoria Cruz, Latina Transgender, Given Award From Justice Department For Her Work With Abuse Victims
The Huffington Post
By Laura Steiner
Posted: 04/27/2012

The Justice Department's National Crime Victim Service Award honors individuals and programs that provide services to victims of crime. Many of the service providers were at one time victims themselves.

Such is the case of Victoria Cruz, a transgender activist and counselor for domestic abuse, who was a recipient of the 2012 award.
"For me it's very humbling [to win this award] and I'm honored, but to me all of this is also very healing,” said Cruz. "When I see someone get the help that they need, I also get the help and I'm always glad that I'm able to help someone."

"This award is very positive. It makes the invisible, very visible. It allows our community to know the services that are there for them, to show our community that when they are in darkness they can always come to light."

We are making a difference. We are bringing about change. One person at a time.


I am very picky when it comes to comedians, I do not like comedians who make jokes at someone else’s expense, they usually put down someone or some group of people. Instead I like observational humor and that is why I was rolling around on the floor laughing when I saw this video of comedian Juston McKinney (Especially since I have a cottage in New Hampshire)…

New Hampshire: Live Free or Die!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thank You All

Thank you all who attended the conference, for without you there would be no conference.

Thank you all who gave workshops, for without you there would be no conference.

We have another fabulous conference again this year and we saw many old faces as well as many new faces this year. This year I did two workshop, one with one of my former professors and the other a friend from the CT Department of Education, and we had about 20 – 25 people attend each workshop. My first workshop was “Working with Gender Variant Clients” and was with my former professor who is also a therapist who works with trans-clients. He did the therapy part and I added my personal experiences. The other workshop was with the head of the Dept. of Ed, Office of Civil Rights and our workshop was the rights of trans-students under federal and state laws. I covered the current legislation while my partner covered the policies. In both workshops when I glanced at the evaluation forms we received high marks for our presentation.

Last I want to thank everyone at the CTAC for the award that they gave me; I am speechless and greatly honored. The award reads…
The Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition recognizes Diana _______ for her many years of dedication and commitment to the trans community

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Trans Health & Law Conference

I'm off to the Transgender Lives: Health and Law conference at the UConn Health Center in Farmington.
The program book is here.

Saturday 9: That's Why God Made The Radio

1. The Beach Boys are back together (everyone alive, Dennis and Carl have passed, including Brian) for the first time in 25 years. It's their 50th Anniversary tour. Their new single is called, “That's Why God made the Radio”. Did radio play a huge part of your growing up years?
Yes, we listened to WHCN. On AM, it was WDRC. I think it was the Joey Reynolds’ Royal Order of Night People when we use to hang out at the McDonalds’ on the Berlin Turnpike until it closed at 1:00.

2. What is something that you are disappointed about right now?
Something that I have been working on for the last couple of months looks like it will not come to completion.

3. What are you really anticipating right now?
The conference today, we have been planning it for the whole year.

4. When was the last time you watched your favorite movie? What is it?
Around Christmas and it was the new Star Trek movie

5. If you could bring one person back from the dead, who would it be?
Well it depends on how they would look after they have been buried for a half a century.

6. Who was the last person you hung up on?
Nobody that I remember, but I have hung up on this chimney sweep that keeps calling even though I am on the “Do Not Call” list

7. Does it bother you when meme makers separate questions that could've been combined?
No, why should it? Are you planning on doing it?

8. What is the first animal you would run to see if you went to the zoo?
Boy, it’s been so long since I went to a zoo that I have no idea.

9. What is the food you always buy at the grocery store that you can't live without?


Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

 Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. Ah, me..._and my big mouth_.
2. _My health_ is what's on my mind most lately.
3. When I talk to my best friend, _he listens (My brother)_.
4. _Luck_ is what's working for me lately.
5. I recently saw _a hawk_.
6. _Spring_ fills me with joy!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _recuperating from a “routine” medical test_, tomorrow my plans include _going to the conference that I have been help plan all year_ and Sunday, I want to _relax and let life catch up_!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Story Part 116 – One Year Ago

One year ago this week I was writing my Capstone paper for my last class; I was all stressed out over the paper. I had an anxiety attack over the stress of the paper, of graduating, of giving my first profession workshop at the Connecticut chapter of the NASW conference, of the “Night to Remember” that evening and on Saturday giving another workshop at the Trans Health and Law conference.

But I made it through.

Now one year later, I see my friends who are graduating posting on Facebook the stress of writing their Capstone papers and I remember back to last year and all the emotions that I was going through. After the “Night to Remember,” I remember walking out to the parking lot crying with my other classmates, we didn’t want to leave. I still see some of my classmates from time to time and it is nice to hear what they are doing now. I went back to school a couple of weeks ago to visit one of my professors, we are giving a workshop together Saturday at the Trans Health and Law conference, and it felt weird to be walking through the hallways again after a year. I met a few friends in the lobby and we chatted awhile before I had to go up to the professor's office.

I wish all those who are graduating next congratulations! They have their "Night to Remember" tomorrow night and I know it will be just as emotional for them as it was for me.

Connecticut Leads The Way

Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition (CTAC) as a member of the CONNECTICUT SAFE SCHOOL COALITION worked with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), CT Department of Education and other state agencies and non-profits to publish the Guidelines for Schools on Gender Identity and Expression that provides information and guidance to students, parents and school faculty and staff on the rights, responsibilities and best educational and employment practices for transgender and gender non-conforming students.

I am the CTAC representative on the Safe School Coalitions and we have been working on the FAQs for over a year and it is always nice to see your work come to fruition. We have gone through several iterations of the document before it was finally approved by the CHRO and published on their website. As far as we know this is the first time any state agencies out of the other 15 states that have protection for trans-people have published an official FAQ like this. So I am very proud of Connecticut to be leading the way and for me to be part of the effort by so many amazing agencies and non-profits (See the list of coalition members at the end of the document).

The guidelines can be downloaded from the CHRO website here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Insurance, Or The Lack Of

I have written many times about the discrimination with insurance, about the denial of coverage for trans-people. Insurance should cover all medically necessary treatments. If you have health problem, it should be covered no matter your gender.
Jessiah MacDonald says surgery should be covered by provincial medical plan
CBC News
Posted: Apr 23, 2012

A transgender man in Nova Scotia has filed a human rights complaint after he was handed a $3,400 bill for a hysterectomy that he claims was medically necessary.
"I felt it was wrong because despite my gender, I still have pieces of my body and if a piece of my body gets sick, I expect it to be treated as any other piece."

Handed $3,400 surgery bill

Born Jessica MacDonald, Jessiah always felt different growing up. At 18, he told his family he wanted to be a man and started taking testosterone pills.

Medical problems began. MacDonald went to a gynecologist after experiencing abdominal pain.

"The gynecologist had mentioned during the consult that I had a small uterus and she could feel multiple polyps during the internal exam, and that was sufficient enough for her to suggest a hysterectomy. But there was no mention then that it was only if I was female. There was no mention in the nine months between that and the surgery date."

Insurance should cover the person, not the gender. If a doctor says it is medically necessary, insurance should cover it and if the insurance company says they want a second opinion fine. But don’t deny coverage because of one’s gender.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

News Flash..."Federal Agency Rules Trans People Protected by Sex Discrimination Law"

Victory: Federal Agency Rules Trans People Protected by Sex Discrimination Law

NCTE congratulates our colleagues at the Transgender Law Center who tonight, announced a significant federal workplace rights victory. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled in a 5-0 decision that an employer who discriminates against a transgender employee or job applicant because of the person’s gender identity is illegal sex discrimination based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Though this ruling follows a growing number of court decisions around the country that have held that transgender people are protected by existing federal anti-discrimination laws, this is the first decision by the EEOC on this issue.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, “This ruling is a major advancement in transgender rights that will provide a significant tool to fight discrimination. It will also help us advocate for still needed protections like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the federal contractors executive order.”

The EEOC is the federal agency charged with interpreting and enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws, and this is the first time it has ruled that anti-transgender discrimination is sex discrimination. The decision applies to both public and private employers throughout the country including in the 34 states that do not yet have gender identity anti-discrimination laws.

The case was brought by the Transgender Law Center (TLC) on behalf of their client Mia Macy who was a denied a job as a ballistics technician at the Walnut Creek, CA laboratory of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). NCTE congratulates TLC on this important victory and thanks Mia Macy for standing up for herself and the rights of all trans people.

Keisling added, “this is a major victory. As many as 90% of trans people still face tremendous discrimination in employment according to our National Discrimination Survey, and it will help so much that the EEOC agrees with what more and more courts have been saying—discriminating against trans people because of their sex, or their perceived sex, or what an employer thinks about their sex is clearly sex discrimination, illegal and wrong.”

Another Busy Day...

Or maybe I should say days. This afternoon I will be down at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven for two human sexuality classes and then 6:30, I have the last video meeting for the Trans Health and Law conference that is on Saturday. Tomorrow in the morning I have a conference planning meeting for the Connecticut chapter of the NASW fall conference, in the afternoon I will be stuffing the conference bags with promotional material for the conference. At 6:30, my supervisory meeting with my intern and at 8:00 the support group meeting. Thursday, I have to start the preparation for Friday’s routine lab test I’m having at 6:30AM. Friday afternoon, sleeping to make up for all the sleep that I missed because of the lab test. Then Saturday is the conference. And on Sunday, a big sigh.

And who says retirement is boring.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Somehow I Don’t Think This Is Good

A legislator wants a special rehab center for transgender individuals. On the surface this sounds like it might be a good idea until you find out where.
Kuwait Times

KUWAIT:  Kuwait should set up rehabilitation centers to treat cases of gender identity disorder, helping prevent cross-dressers and transgendered people from being abused, a parliament member suggested.
“The law that penalizes imitation of the opposite sex is being applied in an improper manner,” said MP Dr Adel Al-Damkhi, further explaining that those that flout the law “are often subjected to abuse during arrest, during investigations as well as during confinement when they are jailed with other inmates.”
Instead,  Al-Damkhi believes that sending ‘imitators’ directly to rehabilitation centers will help avoid abuse, as well as “receive treatment for their conditions.”
Meanwhile, Dr Al-Damkhi noted that the committee will discuss a proposal to establish a ‘center to treat negative practices and enforce values’ in society.

What is the treatment for “negative practices and enforce values” electro convulsive therapy? Brain washing? Aversion therapy?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Safe Schools

The non-profit that I represent is a member of a Safe School Coalition here in Connecticut, which is made up of various state agencies and non-profits from around the state. We worked to pass last year’s school anti-bullying law, AN ACT CONCERNING THE STRENGTHENING OF SCHOOL BULLYING LAWS Public Act No. 11-232. The law strengthens the previous law and added cyber-bullying and bullying off of school property under certain situations. Connecticut is now only one of fourteen states that include bullying off of school property, the law also attached fines for non-compliance. The law firm Shipman and Goodwin just published a FAQ guide on the law, The New Bullying Statute: Best Practices and Frequently Asked Questions. The booklet is geared more toward the school system administration then the students. The coalition is working on our own FAQ, that will be more neutral.

On the national level, President Obama came out in support of both the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) and the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) which would target discrimination and bullying against students based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. In an article in MetroWeekly, Chris Geidner wrote,

The White House today announced that President Obama is endorsing the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) and Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), two bills pending in Congress to address bullying and discrimination faced by students across the nation.

White House spokesman Shin Inouye tells Metro Weekly, "The President and his Administration have taken many steps to address the issue of bullying. He is proud to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act, introduced by Senator Franken and Congressman Polis, and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, introduced by Senator Casey and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez. These bills will help ensure that all students are safe and healthy and can learn in environments free from discrimination, bullying and harassment."

The SSIA would amend the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act to include bullying- and harassment-prevention programs, including ones based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The SNDA, modeled after Title IX, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal education nondiscrimination law.

I doubt they will ever pass in a Republican controlled House, so President Obama endorsement is really only symbolic.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday Six #419

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #419

1. When you were a young child, were you generally too skinny, too heavy or just right?
I was a little skinny
2. What’s the most weight you’ve lost during any one diet? (Or have you never had to be on one?)
I lost 45lbs but it turned out it wasn’t from dieting, but a disease
3. Of your favorite foods, which do you think is the healthiest?
Chicken, pork and stir fry foods
4. Of your favorite foods, which do you think is the least healthiest?
Hamburgers, juices, French fries, and baked potatoes with butter and globs of sour cream
5. When did you last have some of each of those two foods?
Chicken, pork and stir fry foods , all the time now and hamburgers, juices and French fries, never
6. You go to a coffee shop to meet a friend for conversation. How likely are you to buy a pastry or some kind of snack to go along with that coffee?
I used to do it all the time, coffee with cream and sugar, and a bagel with cream cheese. But now it is just black coffee.

Saturday 9: 'Til I Hear It From You

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: 'Til I Hear It From You 1. If someone, that you trusted, told you that your lover was cheating, would you believe them or not? 
DNA (Does Not Apply)  

2. What is something that you are disappointed about right now?
Someone was supposed to get back to me with some information that I needed to give another person and they haven’t yet, and it’s a week overdue.  

3. Jonathan Frid, who was the original Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows from 1967-1971, passed away in Canada at the age of 87. Who is your favorite vampire? 
  I don’t like vampires. I have no idea of what you are talking about.  

4. Should there be age limits on social networking sites such as facebook?
I would like to say that it should be up to the parents, but too many parents do not know anything about social networks.  

5. Tell us about your pets. Do you have one that you wish would run away?
DNA. It’s not that I don’t like pets; it is just too much responsibility. It is a lifelong comment (10 – 14 years) and it is hard to care for an animal if you travel.  

6. Do you ever have a hard time with morals?
Nope. Well, maybe. But it is because I have very high standards and I go out of my way to do the “right thing”.

 7. Did you make 'a plan' the first time you made love or did it just happen? 
I made all types of plans, but it never goes the way you plan.

8. Do you agree that fame is lousy or would you love to give it a try? Why?
Fame is not fun. I have been on TV news and having strangers comment is not fun.

 9. Do you believe in forever, as in 'love forever'?
Yes, my parents love carried them all through life and beyond.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spam, Spam, Spam

Has anyone else gotten an increase in spam? All of sudden I receiving 4 or 5 spam comments a day. I would go for days without getting spam and now I'm getting a whole mess of Russian spam (you can tell because they are ".ru")

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. Vegetables are best _when they are other people’s plates_.
2. _Cherries in vodka in_ mason jars; _I remember my grandmother making_.
3. How wonderful it is _to look upon a sunset_.
4. _Dragonverse_ is a book I'd love to recommend. (I’m a science fiction devotee)
5. Using leftovers: I like _to use them up before they good bad __.
6. _Not to owe anything in taxes_ makes me incredibly happy!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _ do nothing_, tomorrow my plans include _going to the coffeeshop and listen to some folk music_ and Sunday, I want to _visit some friends _!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Story Part 115 – Men In White Coats

I have always had good luck with doctors so far, I know many who did not and I always wonder will my luck hold. My first encounter with doctors and my tranness were my annual physicals. I use to schedule my annual physicals for the fall, that way when I stopped shaving the hair on my body in the spring for summer I would have all my hair back in time for my physical. This worked well until my doctor wanted me to have one of those tests that you get when you are over a certain age. When I went to make an appointment in early September, they were making appointments for late November and in October I was going up to Provincetown for Fantasia Fair. Dilemma… should I shave or wait until after the appointment? I choose to shave and when I went for the appointment the nurse asked me if there was a reason why I shaved my body hair, oh what the heck, I told her I was a crossdresser. Nothing happened, the world didn’t come to an end, I didn’t get hit by lighting or get thrown out of the office.

A number of times before that I didn’t go to see the doctor when I had the flu or a bad cold because I was worried what the doctor would say. Another time I broke my foot and I didn’t go to see the doctor because once again I was afraid of what would happen. I told everyone that they were only going to tell me it was broken and take it easy. I waited for my hair to grow back and I went to the doctor a month later, they x-rayed it and said it was broken and take it easy.

When I started hormones I knew I would have to tell all the medical personnel. The first doctor I told was my GP and he seemed uncaring and asked who I was seeing for the care. When I mentioned the psychiatrist name, he said that he knew him and asked about him… not about me being trans or anything, just about how the other doctor was doing. The next time I had to mention about being trans was when I sent to the emergency room and I give them a list of my medications. I saw the nurse writing down, Proscar…prostrate, Spriolactine…high blood pressure, Estrogen… Hun? What are you taking that for? When I told her, I saw go back and cross off prostrate and high blood pressure, and write in its place “transsexual”

When my dermatologist left the clinic, I was assigned a new dermatologist. I was reading over his bio that they sent me and I read, “Dr. ______ comes to _________ from service in the U.S. Navy where he was the Chief of Dermatology at the National Navy Medical Center NNMC.” “… Bethesda, Maryland” Hmmm, this should be interesting. So when I went to see him for the first time and he asked for my list of meds and I started rattling them and when I got to estrogen… Hmm, what are you taking that for? So I told him, he sat back closed my file and I thought, here we go… But instead he said I was his first transsexual patient and would I mind if we talked about it. So after a half-hour “Trans 101.” Since them I have had many other encounters with medical personnel, including having a mammogram done… Oh what fun! [sic]

So now a week from Friday I am having an outpatient test done. The hospital just called and needed an update on my health history and when she asked me if I ever had the test done before, I said yes back in 2002.
Oh, was it done here?
All I have listed is a male with the same last name and date of birth.
Yup, that’s me.
… pause, OK, I’ll update the records to show the change.

But I know other trans-people who have been not so lucky. A friend slipped and fell on some ice and when they took her to the emergency room, they found out that she still had her male parts, they walked away. She could hear them talking, “you take care of ‘it’” and they told her to go home and take two aspirin, no ex-rays or nothing. The next day she when to another hospital and they found that she had broken her back and other bones in multiple places. To this day she still has debilitating pain in her back.